We defined sinus infections as condition in which the sinus cavities are inflamed and irritated by a virus or bacteria. The swollen cavities then lead to blockage of the normal airflow and drainage, leading to the accumulations of mucus.
This excessive mucus then causes severe earaches, headaches and toothaches. A sinus infection needs to be carefully evaluated and confirmed by a health expert.
What If you need to fly?
People with sinus infections know that travelling by air can be quite painful. During a flight, the pressure of the air inside the sinuses (air within the facial bones) and the middle ear must be equal to the cabin pressure of the airplane, which keeps changes during descending and ascending of the airplane.
Sinus infections tend to cause a blockage in the Eustachian tube.
A tube that connects the middle ear with the back of a nose and plays an important role in maintaining equal pressures on either side of the ear drum, thus the airflow is restricted leading to the disruption of the equalization of ear pressures, which results in severe pain.
Pain may not be the only symptom-taking place due to the blockage of the Eustachian tube. The pressure changes can also lead to vertigo (a sense of spinning) or tinnitus that is ringing in the ears or even the loss of hearing ability sometimes. In times of severe cases, the tympanic membrane also gets ruptured.
Most doctors will advise people suffering from sinus infections to avoid flying to prevent pain and any other possible complications. However, if flying is your only option, decongestants should be used to overcome the blockage of air into the tube.
Consuming pain relievers will also help you to avoid discomfort. While flying; chewing gum may provide people with sinus infections some relief as the flight ascents and descents. Giving a pacifier or bottle to susceptible infants will also help prevent pain.
Tips for relieving sinus pressure while flying
- Use a saline solution
The best way to protect your sinuses from the damage done by low humidity and dry air during the flight is by using a saline solution that will be easily available at any local drug store. Spray each of your nostrils every hour during the flight to keep your sinuses moist and pain free.
- Pack a decongestant spray!
The best time to use a decongestant spray is before entering your flight. Using a decongestant spray after every one or two hours will allow you to breathe clearly and reduce the effects of air pressure changes during the flight.
- Drink at least five glasses of water before getting on plane!
If you are suffering from sinus infections, then it is important for you to keep in mind to drink as much water as you can before boarding your flight as staying hydrated will prevent any onset of sinusitis while flying.
- Steam your sinuses!
Did you know that airplane tend to have the same level of humidity as a desert? Combat the low level of humidity during your flight with a cup of hot tea or coffee and then breathe in the steam through your nostrils. This steam will help your sinuses to relax and feel more open.
Following the above-mentioned tips will surely help you have a safe and comfortable flight with confidence!